This is part two of an irregular and indefinite journey. Follow Associate Editor Joshua Cody as he works to get a style guide together for his church.
Last time we talked, we were in the early planning phases of getting together a church style guide. This is how I see the whole process playing out:
- Early planning: Getting the team on board for the process.
- Mid-planning: Getting feedback on what a style guide should include and how you can help your team.
- Final planning: Determining the final content of the style guide.
- Implementation: Delivering the final style guide to your team by whatever avenues work best for them.
Right now, we’re certainly in phase 2. The summer slump and a wedding have slowed the process down, but we’re still moving forward.
Here are some of the issues we’ve decided to address in the style guide:
- How we refer to different locations on Sunday.
- Standards for writing the time and date.
- Common spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- When to use a designer/copywriter.
- Buzz words we use and others we avoid.
- An “official” set of colors, fonts and graphics.
- Guidelines for e-mail signatures.
- General tips for better communication.
Next, it’s back to e-mailing our team to dip in to their knowledge of places they’ve seen these things go wrong. Then we’ll pool all of their answers together in order to move on to the stage of determining the final content of the style guide.
It’s difficult not to rush things here. It’s much more exciting to imagine how we will package and deliver this or how to present it in an innovative way than it is to gather data about common errors. But it’s very important, especially the first time through, to present a truly valuable tool to your team. Anything less than a very helpful resource, and this generation of team members at your church might be put off on the prospect of working with a style guide.
So onward the process goes, with slow and steady winning the race.
Is there anything you’ve wished was in a style guide? Or you’ve wished wasn’t? I’m sure we’ve missed some things, and style guides everywhere could benefit from a strong conversation here.